Latest housing market predictions and analysis from experts at Rightmove

The latest statistics from Rightmove show that average new seller asking prices have fallen by 1.9 per cent this month to £355,177, a slightly bigger December drop in newly marketed property prices than usual with the December average over the last 20 years being minus1.5 per cent.

Rightmove analysts say that the fall is partly driven by more new sellers looking to price below the competition now that the pendulum has swung towards a buyers’ market.

This month’s drop means that we end the year with national average asking prices 1.1 per cent below this time last year.

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Higher mortgage rates have been a key challenge and affordability remains stretched. However, with improved market stability as we head into 2024, Rightmove says there are signs of greater activity from family movers who had put their plans on hold during the fallout from the mini-Budget .

Market analysis and predictionsMarket analysis and predictions
Market analysis and predictions

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Science, says: “Further price falls beyond the usual seasonal trends that we’d expect at this time of year signal that some new sellers are continuing to act on the advice of agents to price competitively.

“We entered this year under a cloud of uncertainty, as the fallout from the Autumn mini-Budget filtered through to lower activity levels and high mortgage rates which have added to already-stretched buyer affordability have been a challenge throughout 2023 and this is likely to carry into next year.

“However for now, there appears to be more calm and certainty heading into 2024, and the annual fall of 1.1 per cent in asking prices highlights the market’s much-better-than-predicted resilience this year.”

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The number of sales agreed in the year to date is 13 per cent behind the same period last year, a better-than-expected figure given that the 2022 market was much more frenetic, and three of the ten strongest months on record for buyer demand occurred in the first half of that year.

The average time taken to secure a buyer is now 66 days compared with 45 days last year. Rightmove adds that whilst at a national level average asking prices have seen a marginal fall of 1.1 per cent compared to last year, there is a mixed picture across Britain, highlighting the need for sellers to price in line with their local market trends.

Average new seller asking prices are higher in seven out of 11 areas across Britain compared to a year ago, with the North West leading the way at 1.5 per cent higher than last year. Yorkshire asking prices are 0.7 per cent higher and the South East is the worst performer at 3.7 per cent below 2022.

Average mortgage rates have now fallen for 19 consecutive weeks, with the average five-year fixed mortgage rate now 5.11 per cent compared to 6.11 per cent in July.

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One of the trends that the portal expects to emerge next year is a return of more family movers who now want to trade up for more space.

While current trends suggest that the mortgage market will be more stable, interest rates are likely to remain elevated next year and Rightmove therefore predicts that national average asking prices will drop by an average of one per cent in 2024.

Tim Bannister adds: “2023 has been far from the negative market it might have been given the broader economy. Whilst there has been a lower transaction level than the previous few years and some adjustment in values, attractively priced property is selling. Very prime coastal property has held firm and sold well and sensible sellers who are realistic about guide prices are achieving positive results.”